In the 1800s, weekend entertainment at South Arm often revolved around what people did during their week and with most being farmers or orchardists, it’s not surprising to read a report from The Mercury of 28th December 1863 that talks of a ploughing match taking place. The school too, was thriving and, as often pops up in the historic articles about South Arm, the community style was mentioned in fulsome terms.
From a correspondent
A ploughing match in this district was held on the 19th inst. Nine teams came on the ground in excellent order, and the work began at 10 a.m.
The ground selected was a field belonging to Mr. Musk, not far from his residence, and fronting Ralph's Bay. G. J. Morrisby, Esq., J.P., was appointed to act as Judge.
A goodly company assembled on the ground at an early hour, nearly all the residents in this part of the district with their wives and families, including John Watson, Esq., Messrs. J. & G. Alomes, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Musk. Mr. Winspeare, Rev. T. Gellibrand, Mr. Williams, Mr. Foreman, &c. &c.
At the conclusion of the watch about 50 persons sat down to a substantial and well-arranged dinner, and the greatest harmony prevailed. The prizes were then handed over to the successful ploughmen amidst the most enthusiastic cheering.
On the same day the South Arm Public School held its annual festival. There was an excellent spread for the children, provided in a first-rate manner - all the families of the place clubbing together, and carrying out their plan in a style not often seen.
C Calvert, Esq., occupied the chair. The room was beautifully decorated with flowers, and filled with people.
The Rev. T. Gellibrand read the report of the annual examination, which spoke of great progress and good discipline under the able management of Mr. Carew.
A great number of prizes were distributed, and the ceremony closed with the presentation of an address to Mr. Carew, signed by all the people, and accompanied by a handsome present, to which Mr. Carew replied in a very suitable and feeling manner, receiving much applause from the assembled company.